Category Archives: Money
You probably remember the phrase “There is always money in the Banana Stand” from Arrested Development, a reference to the large stash of money hidden in its walls, not the stand’s revenue potential (as initially thought). So I felt the Banana Stand would make for a neat piggy bank, but alas other geeks have already thought of that.
So I propose an ATM machine design instead! This way it would be close to the size of the actual Banana Stand seen in the show, and would be in keeping with the aforementioned phrase.
It could be a standalone Banana Stand or one that is integrated into a wall (like the one you see above).
Hopefully a major bank with a sense of humor would do something like this. Admittedly it might be too garish for a bank branch but would be cool in a mall or a store.
Also kudos to Netflix for creating a few real Banana Stands to promote the show’s impending 4th season, which I am very much looking forward to. I’d like to think most of Canada is psyched for the show as well, as it was nationally broadcast on CBC for years after its cancellation (it was how I got on the AD bandwagon). I’ve yet to meet anyone who hasn’t seen the show.
Warning: This isn’t geeky. Here are some geeky transit maps to distract you instead!
If you’ve followed this blog long enough you know I live in Vancouver BC. Our local transportation authority Translink is facing some revenue shortfalls due to a decreased local demand in fuel (a quarter of their revenue is from fuel taxes). So I decided to put my thinking cap on to see if I can devise some transportation-related ways for them to raise money or to save money. Read the rest of this entry
I think it’s time some words and terms can be discarded from everyday use, for the sake of efficiency and simplicity. Eliminating these terms can save time and money.
Here is a series of rants in no particular order:
1. TVs. I cannot wait to be rid of the LCD/Plasma/OLED monikers, same goes for Flat Screen and Flat Panel. Let’s face it, all TV’s are flat now. As for the LCD/Plasma/OLED terms, I believe those should only be point-of-sale distinctions, because those are valid options for the consumer. For everyday use, it would be great just to call them TVs. I’d like to cite previous precedent: the advent of Color TVs, which needed that ‘Color’ distinction, but once commonplace it was redundant. Older TVs can be called CRT TVs.
2. Digital Cameras. The term digital was crucial some 15 years ago when these cameras launched. Film was dominant at the time, but is now practically extinct. I believe Digital Cameras can now be referred to as simply Cameras. The minority of cameras still using film can be referred to as Film Cameras, which would be an important distinction for those looking to insert their 4GB memory card.
3. Phone. Be it a landline telephone, cell phone, digital phone, smart phone, or mobile phone, I don’t think it really matters anymore. A phone is a phone, and it’s the only word you need. My personal opinion is that these category labels are more for vanity than for the benefit of others. The abilities of phones are only crucial to their respective users, there is no real need to clarify to others the type of phone you are using. Obviously companies will continue to employ these categories because they transform a basic necessity into a status symbol.
4. Next-Gen Current-Gen Last-Gen. For the 90′s and 2000′s the improvement in graphics and gameplay for video games may have warranted these designations. However the next generation of consoles will not be a big leap forward graphically compared to what has come before. I say it’s time to retire this terminology and just stick to the platforms when describing a game. Besides, games from several generations back are still relevant, and they do just fine without any kind of “Gen” term. Read the rest of this entry
So I read this article at Forbes the other day (yes I read Forbes — it helps me learn big words) which outlined the decline in TV sales. It didn’t surprise me because modern TVs are made to last and just about everyone made the transition to LCD/Plasma/OLED TVs over the past decade because of their increasing affordability. Also HD was a worthwhile carrot (love how they tried to get us back to the trough for 3D TVs* – HA!).
I’m not a business or tech analyst, but I think there is one trait all TV manufacturers lack, and that is imagination. The cookie cutter appearance all TV’s have can be disposed of in favor of unique designs that represent the varying tastes and interests of consumers everywhere.
I believe we’re at that threshold where TVs have to diversify their appearance to encourage market growth, a tactic the automobile industry latched onto several decades ago. Functionality and engineering have been nearly perfected – it’s time for style.
Take this Iron Man design above. Definitely geared towards the comic book geeks, techies, film buffs, car lovers and so on – not exactly a niche market! If something like this were available, it might provoke some to think about getting a second (or third) TV, or to eschew paying rent for one month for a complete upgrade (let’s face it, we geeks are bloody impulsive).
Look forward to more TV designs based on films, comic books, and video games in the coming weeks. Check out this Star Trek TV from a while back if you like this one.
*That same article cited an increase in 3D units shipped, but no hard sales numbers. A 14% increase from what exactly?
This goes back to an old idea I posted where I proposed a system that would feature plain-packaged food situated behind “gates” that would serve as the colorful signage for the product.
This design is for smaller items like toys and electronics – anything that would be stored on peg display racks. My belief is a simple placard isn’t enough to sell consumers on the product. We are conditioned to seeing the item displayed in a nice colorful package.
So I designed display cases which are mounted in front of goods that are packed in plain cardboard packaging (I’ll elaborate on the cardboard packaging in another post). The cases show off the product and are adorned with product branding and information – they essentially look like packaging you see on peg hooks currently.
The cases swing out of the way, allowing access to the corresponding products behind them:
In order to maximize shelf real estate, the rows would be offset (think building bricks). I found that display cases would hit display cases located directly above, so I offset the rows and added a “swing arm” that would swing the case clear without hitting other cases. Cases on the top row would flip open upwards, some cases on the bottom row would flip down. The cases with swing arms can be plugged into a bracket, holding it open for you while you grab the items off the rack.
The mockup I made is a small sample, in reality this system would fill entire aisles. Larger display cases (like the ones holding Optimus Prime) can be used to showcase multiple products. Smaller cases (holding R2-D2s) are used in the corners or gaps at the edges caused by the offset layout.
This system would help eliminate one-time use plastic packaging in favor of recycling-friendly materials like cardboard.
Cons: Harder to determine stock numbers at a glance, or to see if an item is sold out. Setting up individual displays cases can be time consuming. Consumers would have to inspect the plain packaging info to ensure it corresponds to the item displayed in front.
Pros: More apparent if someone is grabbing an item off the rack – helpful for spotting shoplifters. The aisles would always look presentable (shelves always look full). Reduction in plastic waste. Switching to recyclable materials for the product packaging.
This idea was provoked by a documentary I recently saw called Bag It, which I highly recommend. It’s a sobering look at the impact of plastics on the ecosystem. Companies like Hasbro are starting to phase out plastics in their packaging, which is great news. Maybe we’ll see something like the above design.
1. A Communal Car Repair Garage. This is like a co-op artists studio, but for the mechanically inclined. You’d be able to rent a garage bay to fix your car for more demanding repairs. Sure you might have a garage and set of tools at home, but there are times when you need to get underneath the car. Or maybe you need an engine hoist and an industrial air compressor – stuff like that.
Got this idea when I owned a Ford several years ago (har-har, go ahead and laugh), and so often I would’ve liked to have access to a communal garage setup like this. I also think they had something like this in that film Christine.
2. Local Municipal Garbage Depots. Landfills are way out in the suburbs, and require a truck. Or you gotta pay an arm and a leg to some company to haul your stuff away. I propose ‘garbage depots’, which are set up in warehouses throughout the city, much like recycling depots. Garbage trucks that are not filled to capacity would stop in here, and collect junk until full or when it is needed to do another pickup route.
People would pay a fee to drop their stuff off here, but that is the cost of convenience. It would also maximize loads for trucks, allowing for optimal efficiency.
3. Restaurants With Retractable Roofs. It’s not just for sports stadiums anymore! You could turn the whole restaurant into a patio. It would be like that restaurant scene from Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, minus the falling food (unless you have a clumsy server).
Speaking of servers – I imagine they’d love this idea. They’re not too fond of heading out the door to the patio with food, or collecting outdoor furniture at the end of the night.
Also: tall building rooftop bars. Those alcohol commercials lied — you never see those in real life.
5. Themed Drinking Holes And Restaurants — which are actually cool. If they made a bar based on Cheers, the Brick, or 10 Forward, it would be the busiest in the city. I’m telling ya, franchises to be had there. As for restaurants, I’d say ones based on those featured in Pushing Daisies (I think? Wasn’t there a pie restaurant?), Seinfeld, Goodfellas, Office Space, and that’s all that comes to mind. As long as it’s not too over-the-top like Planet Hollywood (forgot about those, didn’t you?)
6. Party Room Conference Centers. This is a building that would feature a dozen or so ‘party’ rooms, and a communal bar and/or restaurant. These rooms would house something in the area of 10 – 30 people. Some rooms would be equipped with large screen TV’s and seating, ideal for film marathons or gaming sessions with your buds. Other rooms would just have tables and chairs for poker or Magic: The Gathering parties. A stereo and a dance floor could fill another room — whatever you need for your party. This type of conference center would promote social activity – a dying art.
If I ran such a place, I’d charge about $100 – $200 per room per night. And if all the party-goers bought a lot of food and drink, I’d offer a rebate.
Hotels have many conference rooms, but let’s face it — these are snooty establishments. At least that’s what I learned from Home Alone 2.
7. Themed fitness clubs. Three words – Pokemon Training Center. All the geeks would be tricked into staying in shape.
I still get e-mails from time to time asking where this can be purchased, so I decided to touch it up and upload it to Imageready, where you can buy it commission-free, at least until Miramax asks me to remove it (in a violent, yet critically-acclaimed fashion). Hit the link or the image to go to the store listing.
Recommend the smaller sizes for this print — 14″ x 11″ is close to the painting’s size from the film. Also because I suck at painting digitally, and a smaller print can hide that. I did my best (I painted the outer 30% all around), but it won’t hold up to close scrutiny. At a glance it bears a passing resemblance to what is seen in the film.
I did e-mail Miramax and alert them this was a popular item (I still get traffic hits daily for this painting, and it’s been up over a year or so), in hopes they could add it to their merchandise line. No response, of course, and that is to be expected. Just saying I tried!
One thing I don’t get, is when Will Hunting is describing this painting, he says “It’s also a Winslow Homer ripoff, except, uh, you got whitey rowin’ the boat there.” But you really cannot determine the race of the boat’s occupant at all, or even the gender. It could easily be Paddington Bear in that boat, navigating a harsh sea of marmalade. Doesn’t that thought just cheer you up??